For those that don't know, inFamous is all about Cole, a courier in Empire city.
On a routine delivery, Cole ends up delivering a bomb that explodes and grants him electricity based super powers (yay) but also wipes out a large chunk of Empire city (boo) throwing it into chaos (yay again). Surviving the explosion by playing dead for two weeks, Cole wakes to find that he is now the protagonist in Sucker Punch Production's new sandbox game.
The demo code we received last week was my first taste of the game, and while the four different areas available weren't long enough to begin forming much of an opinion about the tasks that will propel most of the game, what I was able to have a fairly good crack at was exploring the city scape and seeing what Cole could do.
Videos can show you a lot, but they can't really give you a sense of how Cole controls or how well he interacts with the environment.
Every ledge, window, drain pipe, door frame, ladder, cable and rail can be grabbed and used to shimmy across, pull yourself up higher, or simply employed as a balance beam. Mobility is the key. From the outset I was jumping from ledge to ledge, pushing myself up on to a three story building before leaping to power lines, which I could then use to charge up in an effort to propel myself at speed towards a higher objective, all done just with the use of my X button.
The reason it is all so simple is that whilst also being context sensitive (push in the direction you want to go and jump) inFamous also takes certain liberties on behalf of the player. Cole will automatically stick to each platform or object that he is on, preventing you from falling off or mistiming jumps. The benefit of this was that along with Coles ability to glide through the air with his superpowers, I was able to move through the locations on offer with an absolute feeling of speed and freedom.
The one negative, and the only real negative I had from the entire experience, was that in certain areas where there are multiple objects to use (such as a parallel railway line) jumping off to walk between them was difficult. Every time I would try to jump off, Cole would automatically reattach himself on the landing, which meant I had to jump away and then walk back to get where I wanted. It was a minor nuisance that is fairly easy to deal with, but if that is the biggest hurdle you face to have the ability to jump over buildings, Sucker Punch Productions have a very accessible game on their hands.
The combat is a combination of super-powered physical combat and a variety of lightning power projectiles. Punches, kicks and headbutts are all pretty standard, with a single hit sometimes being enough to down an innocent passer-by, but they aren't going to get you through the various gangs that have taken advantage of the chaos. You have a standard bolt attack that you can fire off as fast as your finger can tap, and this is fine against single targets. When you have a group to deal with, energy bombs and shock waves can explode or force back the gun toting villains, but as you have a limited but rechargeable energy bar, you will want to make the most of these attacks.
Use of the environment seems to be a major theme with the gameplay and it continues through to the combat by being a source of the energy you need to use for your big attacks, and therefore part of what you use to eliminate your foes. The shock wave can flip and shunt cars down onto groups of enemies, or you can lead them onto exposed metal grating and fire off a single bolt to chain-lightning them to death.
While we still wait to get our hands on a review copy, the freedom on offer in the demo code means that what we have seen so far has us amped.